My summer vacation

Xion-Elijah-Jamil-Harlem-outside-Apollo-0715-by-JR-BR-web-200x300, My summer vacation, Culture Currents
Xion and her brothers were inspired by the decades of Black greatness that have graced the Apollo Theater. – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report

by Xion Abiodun

It had been two years since I had seen my brothers, and this was the year I was going to see them, in New York. So me and my dad getting to New York started off badly. First of all we missed our flight, and we were on standby for a day and a half.

For most of our flight, I was asleep. Our flight landed in Philadelphia in the midst of a rainstorm, so our flight was not coming. After we heard that news, me and my dad went to go get something to eat.

The food selection was pretty big for an airport. They had restaurants such as Popeyes, Subway, Philly cheese steak, McDonalds, Starbucks, a sushi bar and a lot of other restaurants. Me and my dad picked the sushi bar to eat at.

After we ate, we walked around the huge airport. That’s when we saw some really cool Spider Adidas that had not come to the West Coast yet. After we looked around a little more, we booked this awful hotel called Ramada.

When we first walked in the room, I knew we made a mistake. First of all, the room smelled like mold and second of all the shower was broken, but we were just going to have to stick through it for the night.

At around 2:00, I heard something – and it was in our room. Then I felt something. So I got really freaked out. Then I woke my dad up, and he went to the window and pulled the curtains back and our room was flooding.

After that my dad was fed up, so he went down to the counter to tell them about our situation. They gave us a refund, but that was all they could do, plus all the other hotels were booked. So we had to stay with the flooding room.

When we got up in the morning, we headed to the bus station. We got on the bus and it took three hours to get to New York. During those three hours, we passed New Jersey.

When we got off the bus, we were in Manhattan, where it seemed thousands of people were. It took us a lot of time to get to the subway. When we got in the subway, we saw police with the biggest machine guns.

JR-Xion-Jamil-Elijah-Sekou-Odinga-NYC-0715-by-JR-BR-300x200, My summer vacation, Culture Currents
Everyone wanted to welcome home recently freed Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army political prisoner Sekou Odinga, caged for more than 33 years, at the International African Arts Festival in Brooklyn on July 3. – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report
International-African-Arts-Festival-Xion-Rashida-Jamil-Elijah-Brooklyn-070415-by-JR-BR-300x200, My summer vacation, Culture Currents
A number of Bay Area residents were at the International African Arts Festival this year alongside their East Coast family in Brooklyn on the Fourth of July. That’s Xion in the Rebel Diaz shirt and her little brothers at the far right. – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report

The next morning I saw my aunt, uncle and brothers. All of us went to go get some pizza, went to the park and went to see a movie. We also got to go to Biggie Smalls’ house.

Two days later we got to go to Harlem. In Harlem, we got to go to Sylvia’s, the shoe store, the 5% Muslim Nation School and the Apollo. We even got to touch the log in the Apollo that all the stars touched.

Jamal-Hart-Xion-Greensboro-NC-0715-by-JR-BR-200x300, My summer vacation, Culture Currents
Xion, who knows the history of the Black Panther Party and the significance of being a Panther cub, was happy to meet Jamal, the son of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, when she and her dad stopped over in Greensboro, North Carolina, on their way home. – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report
Sulay-son-of-PP-Abdul-Majid-teaches-Jamil-Xion-Elijah-PP-table-Internatl-African-Arts-Festival-Brooklyn-070415-by-JR-BR-300x200, My summer vacation, Culture Currents
Sulay, the son of political prisoner Abdul Majid, was giving a political education class to Xion and her brothers at the political prisoner booth at the International African Arts Festival in Brooklyn on July 4. – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report

The next day, it was the Fourth of July and we spent all our Fourth at the African Festival. There I met Mr. Sekou Odinga, Ms. Dequi and Tupac’s cousin. Most of them were former Black Panthers of the East Coast. After we were done at the festival, my brothers had to go home. So we cried and said our goodbyes.

It was my last day in New York. I was sad but also happy. When I got on the plane, we went to North Carolina. So we crashed there for the night. In North Carolina I got to meet Mumia’s son.

When we got up in the morning, we went to South Carolina, then back to California, and finally I was back home. Over all, that was one of the best trips I ever had.

Xion Abiodun, 11, is an aspiring journalist. She can be reached via